Nebraska College Preparatory Academy scholars got a behind-the-scenes look at internship opportunities with Hudl on Oct. 13.
Nearly 40 first-year NCPA students heard from the company’s chief operating officer, recruiters, and current and former interns. Students learned about internships, the hiring process and the benefits of an internship and toured Hudl’s headquarters.
“Hudl and NCPA believe in leveling the field and giving people the shot they deserve,” said Moises Padilla, director of NCPA. “The visit was an opportunity for scholars in the academy to participate in career-building activities and learn about career pathways, internship opportunities and network with professionals. We are very grateful for all Hudl has done for the university and the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy.”
The visit aligned with the NCPA’s goals of eliminating barriers and preparing scholars for their careers. It was also the program’s latest effort to provide students with opportunities to close what is known as the “network gap.”
“Despite their educational achievements, first-generation, Pell-grant eligible and ethnic-minority students often experience what is known as ‘network gap,’ which means they are much less likely to have people within their social networks who can provide them with recommendations or give them substantial advice for advanced education or business startups,” Padilla said. “To this end, NCPA is continuing to expand opportunities for students to establish and leverage career networks and enter high-income-generating fields.”
NCPA scholar Leopoldo Hernandez, a sophomore computer science major, said he enjoyed listening to Hudl’s history, touring the workplace and talking to employees.
“Learning about the culture in Hudl sparked the most interest,” he said. “One employee stated they loved the inclusive culture environment better than their last company, even though they had transferred from a company whom they had been with for 12 years.”
Hernandez, who graduated from Omaha South Magnet School, is interested in an internship at Hudl and was able to connect with a recruiter. He said he would like to learn more about the company’s culture and the experience that working with them would provide. Eventually, he’d like to work for a company such as Hudl or Mutual of Omaha, or a large company such as Microsoft or Spotify.
“I’m interested in Hudl since my major involves machine learning and automation, among other aspects, and Hudl involves analyzing, predicting and perfecting sports plays,” Hernandez said.
Hudl COO Matt Mueller said: “The partnership helped support Hudl’s mission to give every athlete the opportunity they deserve, because we believe in the power of sports.
“Sports are powerful and can change lives and bring communities together in a way few other things can. It can teach us lessons about hard work, patience, dedication and resilience. I still get to experience the power of sports through our customers each day. Hiring first-gen students is a great way for us to extend that experience to an even broader audience.”
Mueller said he’s noticed that first-generation students often have a unique problem-solving mindset, even as interns.
NCPA plans to continue to visit businesses and connect current scholars with alumni of the program. In August, 80 NCPA scholars from four high schools attended the program’s 2022 end-of-year trip to the Twin Cities, where students visited a Big Four accounting firm and attended an alumni networking dinner.
Continuing visits like these is important because first-generation students are 13 percentage points less likely to participate in general career-building activities compared with students who have at least one parent with a bachelor’s degree, according to the Strada Center for Education Consumer Insights. In contrast, all NCPA scholars participate in career-building skills starting in the eighth grade and continuing through college graduation.
“College attainment by itself is not enough to close the considerable racial and socioeconomic wealth gaps that continue to disadvantage students from underrepresented and/or marginalized groups,” Padilla said. “By connecting NCPA scholars to UNL alumni and business professionals, we ensure students have access to early career placement and entry into high-income-generating fields.”